Web Marketing includes every aspect of communicating and selling online. It incorporates E-Commerce, Email marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. In recent years, traditional Outbound campaigns have been displaced by Inbound marketing strategies. This means that Web Marketers are learning to communicate with customers instead of simply promoting their products. To do this, they have developed new skills and adopted a brand new toolkit.
Like traditional marketing, web marketing uses the internet to provide something of value to consumers. It can be analysed according to the familiar Marketing Mix of Product, Place, Price and Promotion (the “Four P’s“). However, each of these four categories has been redefined by digital technology and new techniques have been added to the list of essential practices. Customer engagement is now an important consideration, campaign goals are far more varied, and there are a bewildering array of metrics to understand.
A Short Guide to Web Marketing
- E-Commerce Platforms for Web Marketing
- Customer Success
- Web Marketing Campaigns
- Web Marketing Metrics
The world of Web Marketing and E-commerce is full of technical terms and industry conventions. The following guide will provide an introduction to some of the main concepts.
The quickest way to start selling products online is to set up a store using an eCommerce Platform. Most of these platforms charge a monthly fee that varies with the features they provide. Even free platforms usually charge for processing card payments. Shopify, for example, charges between £23 and £299 to host a store as well as 2.2% + 20p for each transaction. WooCommerce, the plug-in extension for WordPress sites, comes with a hosting charge of between £3.15 and £5000 and numerous additional costs.
A number of eCommerce platforms provide app extensions that enable you to customise the experience you offer to customers. Shopify’s app store contains over 2000 extensions and plug-ins to improve your store’s performance. These include Social Proof Marketing features, Exit Pop-ups and added security and Trust Features.
Keeping up to date with the most recent market research is the only way to remain competitive within E-commerce. Studies conducted on consumer attitudes have revealed how quickly habits and expectations change. For example:
- In the second quarter of 2018, it was found that an average of 75.4% of online retail selections were abandoned during the purchasing process. (Statista, 2018)
- Between 2010 and 2018 the number of active registered PayPal accounts rose from 84.3 million to 254 million. (Statista, 2018)
A 2018 survey showed that 68% of people would pay more for a product if the company providing it had a good record of customer service. The same survey also illustrated a more fundamental point: customer service reviews correlate strongly with a business’s revenue.
Increasingly, Web Marketers are embracing multi-channel customer support. This means offering a number of ways for customers to contact them.
- Live chat: on-page support from experts is the preferred channel for most customers. In fact, a well-known survey by Zendesk found that live-chat support had a 92% satisfaction rating. However, the same survey found that demand for live-chat support declined noticeably before 10am and after 3pm. It is not a cost-effective solution for 24-hour customer support.
- FAQ guides: self-service guides provide some of the lowest customer satisfaction responses. However, they are a one-time expense, and provide an alternative service channel with no staffing costs.
- Machine Learning has made it possible for businesses to offload particular tasks to dedicated programmes. However, Artificial Intelligence does not yet provide reliable answers to specific queries. The 2018 Customer Expectations Report produced by Gladly suggested that 50% of chatbot users were unhappy with their experience.
Expectations for customer support have risen with the availability of instant messaging. Interestingly, a report from the Harvard Business Review found that customers prefer clear and direct answers from a single source to solutions from a range of sources.
The most common, and cost-effective, approach to the demand for continuous support is an integrated multi-channel system. There are a number of further questions to think about: What kind of answers do you customers need? What kind of answers do they want? Should you prioritise customer support of User-experience?
Search Engine Optimization offers the best ROI (Return on Investment) of any Web Marketing strategy. The principle is to make your company and products as visible as possible to the people who need them. To do this, marketers study Search Engine Ranking Factors and optimize their websites with these factors in mind. Optimization involves both on-page and off-page techniques:
On-Page: Potential customers browse internet content by entering terms into a search engine (Google retains a global market share of 74%, with its closest competitor Baidu holding 15%). These terms contain keywords that the majority of similar requests also contain. SEO marketers identify these keywords and make sure they are positioned correctly within a website.
Other on-page ranking factors include the content of a given page, its technical attributes (tags) and its position within a website.
Off-page: The link structure of a website and its various pages is a significant Search Engine Ranking Factor. One of the most important considerations are the links from external websites (called “backlinks”). SEO marketers promote their content in order to receive valuable backlinks from highly-regarded websites.
Email Marketing also provides a high ROI. The advantage of this approach is that content is directed to people who are likely to engage with it. However, the strategy relies on acquiring large numbers of email contacts from potential customers and maintaining a healthy database. Across all industries, the open rate for marketing emails is around 25%. However, this includes people who immediately close the message.
One strategy for improving the performance of emails that have been opened is to A/B test them. Despite this, a 2018 report by Campaign Monitor found that 53% of marketers do not test emails before sending them
Native Advertising: Some advertorial content imitates the environment in which it is displayed. For example, a large proportion of Social Media advertisements blend into a browser’s news feed. Because this material bypasses a consumer’s Ad-Recognition, it is a controversial technique. However, the strategy is legally permissible as long as specific forms of disclosure are provided.
Google Ads: Most Google searches bring up paid advertisements, displayed alongside organic search results. Advertising on Google is organised on a pay-per-click basis, and prices vary according to the demand for a particular keyword. Because advertisements are filtered by search terms and cookies, the targeting of Google Ads is highly efficient. The platform accounts for a large proportion of Google’s $100 billion annual advertising revenue.
Display Ads: Usually in the form of banners, floating adverts or pop-ups, display Ads are targeted according to the website and the visitor. Because Display Ads are usually easily ignored by consumers, they tend to be used only in high-budget saturation campaigns.
CLV Customer Lifetime Value: An estimate for the total profit gained from maintaining a relationship with a customer.
CPC Cost Per Click: Advertising paid for according to the number of clicks. This can be capped at a pre-arranged total.
CPM Cost Per Mille: The cost required to acquire one thousand “impressions.”
CTR Click Through Rate: The number of visitors to a webpage compared to the number of clicks on a link.
Customer Attrition: The loss of customers at a given stage in the Conversion Funnel.
FCR Funnel Conversion Rate: The number of conversions compared to the number of potential customers who enter the funnel.
KPI Key Performance Indicators: Significant campaign metrics that can be compared across multiple campaigns.
Unique Visitors: The number of individual IP addresses to request a website or page.
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